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>> money—the conceptual unit of account that we represent with the generally physical, tangible objects we call currency—has been chiefly embodied in the form of coins struck from precious metals

No. This is a gross mischaracterization of past peoples. Money was in coin form but money also existed as promissory notes, land deeds, titles, contracts and countless other non-tangible forms. People in the past measure their wealth not by the coins in their pockets but by their net worth, intangibles included. Most wealth was in the form of non-coin assets. Banks of the past did not keep everyone's money in a big pile. When they made a loan they could, like today, create new money out of thin air. To say that there was some sort of hard limit on total money in a system does a disservice to the sophisticated banking practices of the past.




> Money was in coin form but money also existed as promissory notes, land deeds, titles, contracts and countless other non-tangible forms

You are confusing money with wealth.

From Wikipedia

> Money is a commodity accepted by general consent as a medium of economic exchange.

Money is not land or a loan. It's a unit to enable the exchange of these lands or loans. That's the problem with money: It is worth something when it actually should be worth nothing.


This is mentioned a bit later in the same paragraph.

>> Tired of carrying around weighty bags of dinar and denarii, post-third-century merchants, particularly post-third-century traveling merchants, created more symbolic forms of currency, and so created commercial banking—the populist version of royal treasuries—whose most important early instruments were institutional promissory notes, which didn’t have their own intrinsic value but were backed by a commodity


>> but were backed by a commodity

But they weren't. The bank didn't hold a pile of gold coins to match every promissory note. The note was backed by the reputation of the bank, just like today.


Indeed, before coins (c. 8th century BCE) money was nothing but promissory notes. Coins were invented at that time, at least 3000 years after money, to simplify military logistics.


It's a simplification for sure, but not an oversimplification for the purposes of the article. It isn't a misleading premise off which the rest of the article hinges.

I think the purpose of this sentence is to demonstrate how everyday people view money, outdated maybe, simplified sure, but that's how we treat it and that's the sales pitch.




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